16 December 2007

Susan M. Schultz

[from Susan M. Schultz's A Poetics of Impasse in Modoern and Contemporary American Poetry, 2005]

What if we begin our discussion not
From the point of "how do we start writing, given that it's difficult?"
But that of "why is it that we are having such difficulty writing,
And how is it that we can meaningfully begin to write about subjects
That are not easy to tackle?" At the level of the beginning writer,
Perhaps it's best simply to set pen or pixel to paper and scribble,
But for any serious writer, the question of block is not simply
A technical, or even a psychological, problem, but one that
Leads us to consider the larger forces that inform our writing,
Or our lack of it. The notion that any writing, however private,
Is "free," while it may result in words on paper, does not ask
The hard questions about "freedom" (or any such abstract noun/
Concept) that need to be addressed before or during our hoped-for
Move from writer's block to writing practice. What Goldberg ignores
Is the content of the block, even as she offers remedies
For the block's effects. Get at that content, my argument goes,
And the reason behind the block becomes the content
Of the writing that follows; at the least, writing resumes
At the moment one recognizes why it has stopped in the first
Place, and the content of that writing inscribes both reason
And release, is not perhaps liberation but a means to elucidate
Ways which are implicated in the larger structures
That silence us.

A Poetics of Impasse in Modern and Contemporary American Poetry (Modern & Contemporary Poetics)

1 comment:

  1. ...the larger structures that silence us...indeed.

    I need to attend to some of those, clearly.